DOVER, Mass. – As spring turns to summer and as the MIAA lacrosse tournament nears, it’s also around this time of year that Tri-Valley League rivals Dover-Sherborn and Medfield wrap up their season series – usually, with a conference title on the line.
Monday night’s tilt between the old adversaries was no different, with the Raiders looking to win the TVL outright, having beaten Medfield in the teams’ first meeting. Looking to earn a share of the league crown, the Warriors took the task to heart, taking a two-goal halftime lead. D-S pulled even in the second half, however, and the game looked destined for overtime.
But Medfield’s John MacLean tallied his lone goal of the game with 56 seconds remaining in regulation, and along with goaltender Robert Treiber’s 11 saves, the No. 9 Warriors earned a 6-5 win and a share of the TVL championship.
“It shows we can be tough in the fourth quarter,” Medfield head coach John Isaf said. “They came back to tie it, so we had to make a play to win it. We were smart, patient in the fourth quarter and good things happened.”
The Warriors (16-3) received multi-point games from Matt Crowell (goal, three assists) and Andrew Melvin (G, A) to shoulder the offense, but it was the defenses that were on display.
Despite suffering the loss, Raiders goaltender and ESPN Boston preseason All-State selection Ryan Goodall made 19 saves and was active in the clearing game, even earning an assist on Rogers Boylan’s goal to start the second half.
Treiber was equally up to the task. The junior netminder’s final save of the evening was his most important, stopping Brandon Jaeger last-ditch attempt to tie the game with about 12 seconds remaining.
“I wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to come near-post, so I locked that off and got ready to explode off-post,” Treiber said. “He put it out and there and I was able to catch up to it.”
His performance came as somewhat of a surprise to his coach, considering Treiber has been battling a groin injury and was held out of practice this week, as a result.
“I was sitting there wondering how he’s going to react when he hasn’t seen a shot in four days, going into tonight,” Isaf said. “But he’s a tough kid, he’s a gamer. He made some key saves for us tonight.”
Both Goodall and Treiber racked up the saves, but it was their clearing game, which paid real dividends for their teams.
Goodall got on the scoresheet with his third quarter assist, drawing the Raiders (13-4) within a goal. But Treiber’s feet were also an asset. On several occasions, particularly in the first half, the junior took off and created transition opportunities as D-S sought to cut off his midfield options.
“I like the run-and-gun,” Treiber said. “In transition, they’re always tough, and we allowed a few of them, but that’s part of the game. That’s what we’re trying to do, that’s what they’re trying to do.”
Although Isaf and his staff made a concerted effort to limit Goodall’s ability to connect on home-run passes, the talented senior still found his spots.
“Our game plan was to keep Goody [Goodall] from open-field clearing,” he said. “We didn’t do a very good job of that. He can throw a 50-yard pass on a dime, we know that, we’ve played against him for two years and we know he’s dangerous.”
Aside from the opportunity to sweep the season series from their rivals, the Raiders missed out on a chance to claim the TVL title.
And while the result was ultimately different (following the Raiders’ 6-3 win on April 26), there were similarities between the two matchups.
“They were pretty similar games, in that they were both defensive battles,” said D-S head coach Brian McLaughlin, who secured career win No. 200 last week. “We were shaky, at best, on offense, with a lot of turnovers. They were probably caused by good defenses on each end, and that’s a main thing.”
With just one non-league game remaining on their regular-season schedule (against Franklin on Wednesday), McLaughlin’s team turns its attention to the lessons learned in Monday’s shortcomings and defending their Division 3 state championship.
“It’s a good measuring stick going into the playoffs,” McLaughlin said of playing the Warriors. “Obviously, we need to score some more goals. But, if we can hold Medfield to six, hopefully, we can some Division 3 teams to six as well.”